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That's Hen-tertainment! Chickens play xylophone to keep amused during bird flu confinement

A group of chicken Tchaikovskys from Lincolnshire have been keeping themselves hen-tertained this winter by playing the xylophone.

It's been a tough year for the birds due to an avian flu outbreak that has seen them confined inside.

However, the RSPCA Assured laying hen farm in Lincolnshire has come up with a novel way to keep the birds' spirits up by providing xylophones to peck at and play on.

RSPCA Assured assessor Caren Darby said: "When you enter the hen house, it's like a Night at the Proms. All you can hear are the jingles the hens are creating. It's a sound and sight to behold! Although it might seem like a whimsical thing to give to hens, it's actually a beneficial form of enrichment as the noise they make will likely increase the time the hens interact with them."

Other enrichment activities include giving the hens a football, or a CD on a string. Kate Norman, RSPCA laying hen expert, explained how important keeping birds amused is - both for welfare reasons and egg production.

"Chickens are inquisitive and social animals that need vital enrichment so they can express their natural behaviours and be happy and healthy," Kate explained. "This is why whether they are free-range or barn, all RSPCA Assured laying hens are cared for to higher welfare standards."

To ensure you buy eggs from a farm that has provided these things, you can look out for the RSPCA Assured label. You never know! You may even end up eating an egg laid by Lincolnshire's poultry Prokofievs!